Armed Services YMCA’s Operation Outdoors
Tens of thousands of U.S. service men and women have deployed overseas to Afghanistan and Iraq, and it is their families at home — particularly the children — that have experienced the anxiety and bewilderment of deployment. The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) Operation Outdoors™ camp program provides an opportunity for these children to take a break from their everyday worries. The unique atmosphere of the camp provides an opportunity for military kids to meet and have fun with each other and build a support network of friends going through the same experience. Children are also able to take advantage of outdoor activities that will help foster leadership and teamwork skills, and boost their self-esteem.
In addition to the camps for children, the ASYMCA sponsors camps that reunite families with loved ones returning from war. Service members are able to take mini getaways to the outdoors and spend quality time with their entire family, catching up and reconnecting.
ASYMCA launched the camp program in the summer of 2007 for children of junior enlisted military personnel and their families, thanks to a $400,000 grant from the California Community Foundation’s Iraq-Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund. Then, in 2008, the Sierra Club donated $1.5 million to be used over the next three years in support of a resident camping experience for military children. Because of the grant from the Sierra Club, the program was expanded. Since 2007, the ASYMCA has sent more than 5,500 children to resident camp, more than 2,000 children to day camp and more than 1,200 adults to resident camp. In 2012 we were thankful to donors from the Penfed Foundation and Buffets, Inc., along with Newman’s Own for their generous support.
- Honolulu Armed Services YMCA
- Camp Pendleton Armed Services YMCA
- Fort Campbell Armed Services YMCA
- Armed Services YMCA of Alaska
- Junction City Family YMCA
- Marysville/North County Branch YMCA
- Watertown Family YMCA
- Southeast Family YMCA